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Archive for April, 2013

Bill S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act

Slaw readers might like to take a look at Senate bill S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act, now before the House for third reading, a bill that proposes to abridge our civil liberties to a degree. As is often the case with bills the main purpose of which is to amend existing legislation, the text of the bill itself is nearly incomprehensible on its own unless you’re familiar with the relevant area of law.

The Globe and Mail has an article in this morning’s paper that will give you a brief sense of the bill’s main incursions into your Charter . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Fishing Justice in Yemen and the Limited Value of Grand Design

Sunday morning 3:30 a.m. and my head finally hits a cushion. I have just done an Amsterdam – Istanbul – Sana’a in 11 hours. By Tuesday evening I have been totally submerged in Yemen, even though I do not speak Arabic. To compensate, I have become very sensitive to all other forms of communication: the voice of my interpreting colleague, the pronunciation of the few that speak English, and the sounds and body movements of those I communicate to.

The Minister of Justice, traditionally dressed, welcoming me in the name of Allah the Merciful, together with his ministry colleague, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on technology, research and practice.


Visit for Factory Reset Codes
Dan Pinnington

When electronic devices work properly, you have no worries. But when they don’t, it’s a real pain in the rear! One of the most common trouble-shooting options is a factory reset – that special and specific combination of button presses and steps that restarts the device with standard factory settings. Finding the right reset code usually requires finding the operation manual . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Buying Time in the Civil Justice System

My clients, at least those who are not familiar with our civil justice system, expect a quick resolution of their case. They are often quite surprised to learn that a regular lawsuit will likely take years to run its course. What really shocks my clients though is how badly a lawsuit can become stalled when a defendant fails to comply with simple procedural steps.

After the parties exchange the claim and the defence the next step in Ontario is for the parties to compile and exchange sworn affidavits that disclose all of the documents that they have that are relevant . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Bringing Lean Six Sigma Process Improvement Disciplines Into Legal Services: A CCCA Spring Conference Workshop

These are notes from a workshop by Patricia Olah and Andrew Terrett of BLG Adroit from Borden Ladner Gervais, on April 15, 2013 at the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association National Spring Conference 2013 in Toronto. Note: these are my selected notes from this session; any inaccuracies or omissions are my own and not the speakers’.

In this workshop, the speakers gave a brief introductory lecture about Six Sigma and then had participants work through a scenario. These notes are from the introductory lecture only.

Workshop 103 – Process Improvement: Bringing Lean Six Sigma Disciplines into Legal Services

Patricia . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

On-Line Dispute Resolution

Part two of B.C.’s white paper on Justice reform commits to the appointment this year of a chair for the Civil Resolution Tribunal, and commits to invest in the technology needed to launch Canada’s first “on line” tribunal. The Tribunal is to serve as an alternative to court for small claims and civil property disputes. It will permit citizens to deal with these disputes without having to take time off work for court attendance.

On-line dispute resolution systems are gathering steam. Private systems already exist in Canada for ODR: eQuibbly. The European Parliament approved legislation last month for a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Be the Messenger (And Don’t Get Shot)

The #1 cause of claims against Ontario lawyers practising in most areas of law is problems with lawyer-client communication.

Considering lawyers’ reputation for verbosity, this statistic seems counterintuitive, at least until you consider that some things are easier and more fun to talk about than others.

Fun to communicate with clients about: success (and our role in it); progress; winning; good news. NOT fun to communicate: failure (and our role in it); setbacks; losing; increase legal costs; bad news.

The risk: Failing to promptly and appropriately communicate bad news (and therefore, failing to take steps to mitigate setbacks) exposes lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

The “Human Excellence” of Judging

The decision by Justice O’Donnell in R. v. Duncan (on SLAW here) has gained some notoriety in the legal community ((Katie Daubs, “Legal Decision with literary flourish and dry wit making the round…”, Toronto Star, March 29, 2013) and was the subject of a SLAW post by Simon Fodden (The Judge’s Tale, April 2, 2013). In his post Simon referred to a discussion on the Canadian Legal Ethics Listserv, and to criticisms made of Duncan there. I was one of those critics, and will explain in this column my claim that when a judge writes a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada's award-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from forty-one recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1.   2. Slater Vecchio Connected   3. Rule of Law   4. Lee    5. Chaire en droit de la sécurité et des affaires électroniques
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Opening Legal Education to the Public Through Technology

As much as I enjoy discussing how technology can improve and enhance legal practice, I firmly believe this technological transition has to begin before – in the law schools. Despite, or perhaps in spite of generational differences, the vast majority of legal graduates are technologically illiterate. Changes to the way that legal education itself is delivered may make the difference.

Central to this change is the realization that lawyers are no long the gatekeepers to legal information. Access to justice demands that justice be accessible and comprehensible to the public. This may lead to further development of legal education . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at

This week’s summaries concern:
Discharge of juror / Time already served / Causation in negligence:

R. v. Titchener (R.G.) 2013 BCCA 64
Criminal Law – Procedure – Jury – General – Discharge of juror
The accused was charged that on March 22, 2009, he uttered a threat to cause death or bodily harm to Ms. L. and he . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Plain English Please!

The plain English movement has been going on for a long time. The first law reports in England, The Year Books (1260 to 1535), were all in the French language. Legal texts were published in England in the French language in the 16th century. But French was not the language of the people and it took a long time to get the courts to use English rather than French or Latin.

“After 1704 all reports are in English” – see The Language of the Law by David Mellinkoff, page 130.

David Mellinkoff’s book, published in 1963, is credited with starting . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing